Wednesday, November 15, 2006


The usual way of preparing bulgur, or cracked wheat, is to soak it in water, drain it, and then squeeze out as much liquid as you can with your hands. Unfortunately, it remains rather damp. You can attempt to pour over just as much water as the bulgur will absorb; but the quantity is hard to judge, and insufficient water will leave you with a plateful of grit.

There are two possible remedies: to stir the squeezed bulgur above a low heat in a saucepan; or (better) to spread it on a baking tray and dry it in a low oven for five minutes.

I go for the fine bulgur, and I cover it in cold water for 15 minutes. If I have coarse bulgur, I pour boiling water over it, and leave it for the same length of time.

The classic bulgur recipe is tabbouleh, made with plenty of parsley, mint, spring onions, and dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. I like a lot of pepper with it.

Other ingredients I like to mix into the bulgur include -- often in addition to the above: feta cheese (the Cypressa brand is good, I think, with a salty tang), black olives, toasted pine kernels (I put them in a saucepan above a low heat), grilled aubergines, roasted peppers, aubergines or other vegetables that have been preserved in oil and bottled. About 50 g of bulgur is a decent quantity for one person.

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